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Show and Tell: Snow (1963)
Introduction English History Performing Arts Art & Design  
Art & Design
image from Snow (1963)
AuthorOliver Naylor
TopicMovement, motion
Curriculum linksNC KS3 Art

Snow offers an opportunity to explore how the moving image and sound can be expressed through drawing as part of a whole class collaborative drawing response to film. This fits in perfectly with curriculum, in particular, developing expressive drawing skills by looking at different media (moving image and sound). Links can also be made with artists like Kandinsky (music) and Henry Moore (drawing style).

Begin by asking students to mind map whilst watching the film for the first time with sound (this can be done in pairs on A2 or individually on A3). You might want to provide a structure for this activity by asking students to focus their ideas around certain themes: movement, music and tempo, journey, colour, line and detail. Simple questions can also act as prompts. What is moving in the film? How is the movement or journey of the train emphasised? This task should take 15 minutes and might culminate in a short discussion, collecting students' ideas on the board.

As a warm-up drawing task, play the film with sound only and ask students to respond to the sounds through simple pencil drawings; shapes lines, marks etc. Students could be introduced to the work of Kandinsky to focus their drawings and should compare their work with another member of the class, explaining the sound/tempo that prompted specific shapes and how their first viewing of the film has influenced their drawings.

Now, challenge students to work in groups to create a collaborative piece in response to Snow using a roll of paper (this task can be completed in pencil or charcoal or chalk onto black sugar paper). Can students identify any structure in the film and, if so, how will this inform their work? How does the film weave sound and image together and can this be replicated in drawing? What images stand out from the film; train, tracks, men working, smoke and steam, landscape? Or perhaps students might focus on one of the themes from their mind maps - movement and motion, journey. Examples of Henry Moore's work could be introduced to influence their drawings.

Students could follow up this work with a contextual piece on the director and British Transport Films. This would support literacy initiatives across the Key Stages and requisite for contextual studies in the curriculum.